The City is proposing to reduce the number of lanes on Sullivant Avenue from four to three. This would also remove parking on one side of the street. Sharrows would be installed as a marginal bicycle improvement. There’s a public meeting tonight at 6:30 PM the library on Hague to discuss the proposal.
Sullivant Ave. plan ill-timed, some say
By Mark Ferenchik
The Columbus Dispatch Saturday September 22, 2012 6:18 AM
The timing of a proposal to reduce the number of lanes on Sullivant Avenue has perplexed some Hilltop neighborhood leaders.
Traffic in each direction would be reduced from two lanes to one on Sullivant between Hague Avenue on the Hilltop and Yale Avenue in Franklinton. The 2.3-mile section would also get a new center turn lane and “sharrows,” symbols that tell drivers that bicycle riders are encouraged to use the same lane.
“Why are we doing this now, before we see the impact of the casino?” said Chuck Patterson, who leads the Greater Hilltop Area Commission. “I do think it would be wise to wait and see.”The Hollywood Casino Columbus is to open Oct. 8 on W. Broad Street about 2.5 miles from the intersection of Sullivant and Hague avenues. Columbus wants to start the Sullivant work next spring or summer.
City officials have presented the draft plan to the Greater Hilltop and Franklinton area commissions. They’ll be discussing it at a 6:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday at the Columbus Metropolitan Library branch at 511 S. Hague Ave. as part of an open house on making Sullivant more attractive and pedestrian-friendly.
The city wants to increase safety along Sullivant by slowing traffic, said Rick Tilton, spokesman for the public service department.
The intersection of Sullivant and Wayne avenues had the fourth-worst rate of crashes between cars and bicyclists and pedestrians in Columbus from 2006 through 2010, with 20 crashes, according to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
I have several comments on this:
- A road diet is a great idea on this stretch of Sullivant. Center left turn lanes would improve safety considerably on the road.
- A streetscape project is a great idea on this stretch of Sullivant. My previous analysis showed that based on demographics in the Hilltop, this area has the potential to be a great walkable mixed-use corridor.
- There is some recent evidence that sharrows may actually make a roadway less safe for cyclists. This probably merits a separate post, and I think this issue needs some more research. For now I’ll just say it would be nice if they could install bike lanes out there as was proposed in the Bicentennial Bikeways plan. However, Sullivant appears to be about 40 feet wide, so the center turn lane would have to go to make room for bike lanes. This is a tough trade-off to make. The street cross-section widths with bike lanes might look like this: 5-11-11-5-8, where the travel lanes are 11 feet, the bike lanes are 5 feet, and the parking lane is 8 feet. The three-lane cross section without bike lanes will probably look something like this: 11-10-11-8.
- I’m not really concerned about the casino traffic. I expect that casinos generate most traffic at night and on weekends, which wouldn’t conflict with normal rush hour traffic.